Johns for teenaged prostitute avoid jail time
Two Penticton men escaped a mandatory jail sentence because of issues in proving whether or not they established the age of a teen they obtained sexual services from.
Baldev Singh Toor, 35, and Rick Brian Wyatt, 65, pleaded guilty to communicating for the purpose of prostitution on Tuesday in Penticton provincial court. Judge Meg Shaw sentenced both to a $500 fine and a probation that has the sole requirement that they each pay the teenage victim $500 as restitution.
The men were arrested and charged as part of a larger RCMP sting revealing a 17-year-old girl was forced into the sex-trade by her stepfather who ran the operation from a bus stop outside the Penticton Soupateria. The girl’s stepfather was found guilty of a number of charges and is scheduled to be sentenced on April 15.
Benny Wolfe was sentenced last month to seven months in jail and two years probation after pleading guilty to obtaining sexual services of a person under 18. Kenneth Toovey also pled guilty to obtaining sexual services of a person under 18 and was sentenced to the mandatory minimum for six months in jail to be followed with one year of probation.
During preliminary inquiries for Toor and Wyatt, the Crown had difficulty proving they had knowledge of the girl’s age. Charges of obtaining sexual services of a person under 18 had to be abandoned, and instead the Crown and defence provided a joint submission to the judge under the charge of communicating for the purpose of prostitution. Crown counsel Catherine Crockett said under the communicating charge, normally a first-time offender receives a discharge but this was aggravated because of the girl’s age. Toor had testified the girl told him she was 18 years old.
“Clearly she was a younger person,” said Crockett.
Toor engaged the teen for sexual services on several occasions between March 1 and July 20, 2011 and took her to vacant homes which he had some connection to through his employment at a construction company to conduct the sexual activities. At the time the girl was 17 years old.
During that same time frame, Wyatt approached the teen on several occasions at the bus stop by the Soupateria. He arranged the exchange of oral sex for a price of $60 and would drive to a secluded area and engage with the teen in his vehicle. Wyatt claims the girl told him she was 18 years old and was in Grade 12. At the preliminary hearing, the teen said she couldn’t remember if she told him her age.
Wyatt’s lawyer, Michael Welsh, said his client has lost his job and a number of friends as a result of the original charge.
“He had a lot of consequences in general and doesn’t shirk the responsibility. It is a major life lesson for him,” said Welsh.